For any small business owner, keeping track of your incomings & outgoings is one of the most important tasks. Recording payments, tracking expenses, invoicing customers and reconciling transactions means you can make informed and profitable decisions about your business.
Luckily, there are now a wide range of software options available to make it easier for you to keep on top of your finances. Some have been heavily advertising of late, you’ve probably seen more than one.
But, with so many options out there, picking the right accounting software for you and your business isn’t an easy task.
Below, we list important factors you should consider when selecting your accounting software.
The prices can vary considerably. There are packages at the lower end of the price range but these will often be a more basic package. Think about your business requirements now and in the future. Will a basic package be enough or will you need more features further down the line?
The size and structure of your business will affect how many users there will be accessing your accounting software. Do more users mean more cost? Is it scalable if needed later?
Do you want your accounting software to be installed on a particular desktop? This might limit the number of users so you may prefer a cloud-based system that you can access anywhere.
Work out what you really need from the accounting software and what you need it to do. Do you need both accounts receivable and accounts payable tools? Which reports do you need it to generate? Do you need it to track inventory? Do you need it to include ancillary services, like time tracking, project management and payroll?
Which to choose?
Of course, as bookkeepers ourselves, we have our preferences when it comes to software. We work with all sorts of platforms and packages but there are a few we see time and time again:
Xero: Widely acknowledged as one of the top pieces of cloud based accounting and bookkeeping software – especially if you’re working on a Mac. Xero is great if you’re just starting out or if you need your accounting to be simple and straightforward. Another tick for Xero, it is designed to grow as your business does. We like that it’s affordable, easy to use, offers a ton of add-on features and integrates with hundreds of third-party business solutions, many of which you probably already use. There is also a 24-hour email and live chat support function, meaning there’s always someone there to help you.
FreeAgent: Unlike a lot of bookkeeping and accounting software products which limit your transactions unless you purchase a more expensive package, FreeAgent supports unlimited users, clients, invoices and transactions for one monthly price. It’s a cloud-based piece of software and comes with a built-in project management feature. These features make it ideal for keeping track of billable hours and expenses. As a FreeAgent partner, we recommend it for freelancers, consultants and other project-based businesses.
QuickBooks: One of the most popular accounting software packages out there (and for good reason). QuickBooks works for all types of small businesses. With three different small business plans to choose from, plus a separate plan for the self-employed, freelancers and contractors, it’s got something for everyone. Both new start-up businesses and bigger, established businesses have benefitted from its’ range of features, which cover basic bookkeeping to advanced accounting and business analytics.
Sage: Sage is one of the bigger brands, and it’s been around a lot longer than most. Sage Business Cloud Accounting has two plans for small business owners, starting with invoicing, expense management and reporting, building up to the creation of quotes, estimates, tracking and inventory management. It’s most popular with retail based businesses due to its ability to integrate with POS systems. Sage also appeals to businesses with large finance departments thanks to its’ support for multiple users and payroll systems.
At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we work with small and medium sized businesses to take the pain out of your bookkeeping. From helping you choose the right software to use, software supply, training and data migration, to a complete outsourced bookkeeping service – we can help. If you’re just starting out or you’re looking to hire a bookkeeper to support you as you grow, we’d love to help. Contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper for your free consultation.